The tragedy at the Pike River Coal mine would not have happened if New Zealand had maintained a mining inspector programme canned more than a decade ago, a mining expert says.
A chief inspector would have noticed the dangerous levels of gases pooling at the West Coast mine, and the 29 men who died in explosions from November 19 on would still be alive.
Safety officials do monitor mines around the country, but the system was inferior to the inspector system that was used until the late 1990s.
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